Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Styxfest 2007 Report

Ok, so I'm back from the most HEAVENLY weekend ever. Styxfest 2007 took place at Casino Rama in Orillia, Ontario. It's about an hour from my house, but light years away from anything I've ever experienced before. (Forgive me for jumping between tenses LOL) Lots of great links to click here (couldn't figure out how to embed the youtube clips)

The festival started on Thursday, but due to work, I wasn't able to make it up there until Friday. After driving to the time share that I was sharing with a Styx fan from Arizona, I got changed and met up with all the gang at the Casino, where I had just missed a talk by the bands manager Charlie Brusco, from Alliance Atlantis. I was incredibly disappointed as my fellow Styx Chyx filled me in that it was quite informative. But I was shown into the ballroom, where I enjoyed some refreshments and then watched a Styx cover band give us their version of Kilroy Was Here. The name of the band is What Not To Do To Your Roboto. First off, if you are a fan of early Styx music, they don't cover anything beyond 1990. Secondly - ANY Styx cover band that is comprised of three chicks and one guy gets my vote. The band members were incredible. There was Roz on the drums - she's a little spitfire with WAAAAAYYYY too much energy, Suki on bass - and she did Chuck proud let me tell you, Anjy on lead guitar and vocals, and Scott doing, well, everything else. :D They really know their stuff. Check out their youtube video here.

(Above: Roomies!)

So after the performance, Sara and I decided that we were going to drop one of the cars back at the time share, and get ready for the show. While we're there, I put the bottle of strawberry zinfandel in the freezer (yes, I know it's not exactly Dom, but it was supposed to be cool and refreshing). Off we go, back to the casino in Sara's rental, and walk through the hotel on our way to the entertainment complex. Bonehead me realizes that I've left my ticket back at the timeshare. While there is time to go back and get it, I decide to see if anyone's got a spare. Sure enough, JennRN has a spare, and allows me to use it. Once inside, we rush to the front of the stage - cuz every die hard knows you can't enjoy a Styx show from your seats. So we stood at the front of the stage for an hour, at which time security comes by to ask about our tickets (but not mine - I have an "in" - sort of. My company does the outside security for the venue and I know the guy running it). The best part? A check of the show sheet tells me that the band has instructed security NOT to worry about cameras, and not to interfere with them. WOOOOOOOOOO!

Then, the lights go down - and it's time! They had a fantastic set list, playing some songs that we hadn't heard in years including Midnight Ride with JY on vocals, which had Helen almost passing out in front. She was able to get it on her camera though. They changed it from the night before, but for Friday the set list was:

Blue Collar Man
Grand Illusion
One With Everything
I Am The Walrus
Too Much Time
Midnight Ride
Suite Madam Blue
Crystal Ball
A Criminal Mind
Fooling Yourself *cue the entrance of one Mr. Chuck Panozzo original bassist and founding member*
Miss America
Come Sail Away to end the set, as always

And for the encore, we were treated to Everything All the Time, and of course, what would a Styx show be without closing with Renegade.

Afterwards, we head to the Firestarter Lounge where we take up residence in whatever space we can find. We had members sitting on the floor, on eachothers laps, at the get the idea. It's the popular spot in the hotel to go for drinks after a show. And it seemed like everyone in there had been at the show. The night is made even better by Mario, who is joining us from L.A. The big man was the life of the party!! After deciding on drinks and shooting the shit for an hour, who walks in to the place but nu-bassist Ricky Phillips (ok, he's not THAT new, but he's still no Glen).

After gathering up enough courage, I find him without adoring fans everywhere, by the band's photographer Jason (who is giving our resident Southern belle Karen a hand massage). I order up three shots of tequila for myself, Jason, and Ricky. Well, the Nancy-boys needed to use the lemon so I lost a little bit of respect for them. *grin* After which, I told Ricky that if he was going to toss me a pick tomorrow night, to aim for the cleveage (he had tried to kick me one, but the bohemith bitch in front of me snagged it). He got a chuckle out of that.

Sara came over and was exhausted, so around two, we headed back to the time share, where I smoked a joint and had another drink. The time share was gorgeous. My only complaint was the bed was major soft. But little did we know when we got back that disaster would strike. The zinfandel left in the freezer had frozen and exploded!! It was a mess! I decided to leave it for Sunday morning, and headed to bed.

The next day, Sara woke me up and we got ready to head to brunch at the casino. After a scrumptious meal, we took a look at the live auction items. There was clothing donated by the band, jackets designed by one of the girls (autographed of course), and all sorts of wonderful things. I bid as high as I could on a few things, but was outbid at the last second. There was also a silent auction, with old photographs of the band, a few autographed items, and bears designed by the same girl who did the jackets. The bears represented each band member, and were completely adorable. She also did a boy bear and a girl bear. Each band member autographed "their" bear, and all of them autographed the boy and girl bear. I was bidding for the Ricky bear, but wound up winning the boy bear. He is so adorable!! See??

Anyway, before we could wind up the live auction with the last three BIG ticket items, we had a special guest. Chuck Panozzo, aforementioned original bassist and founding member, has also written a book: The Grand Illusion: Love, Lies and My Life with Styx. He was scheduled to give a reading, but decided to improv, pointing out parts of the book he felt we should pay attention to. He was very funny, and very real. Chuck was diagnosed as HIV positive back in 1990. The book tells of his struggles, both as a boy and as a closeted musician in an industry that was quick to condem before understand. He is one of the nicest and most compassionate people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. If you want a good read, whether you're a fan or not, this book is IT.

After we spend a wonderful two whole hours with the man, the last three items go up for bid. The one that was eagerly anticipated was an autographed wrist cuff from Lawrence Gowan. The rumor was that bidding would be as high as $1000 - WAY out of my price limit, but I did what I could to drive the bidding up. There were two very serious bidders on this. Lyn, and Ken. Ken is the husband of one of the organizers of Styxfest, and an active member of the Styx community. Not only is Dayle all that to us, but she is also an accomplished adult-oriented author. Check out their blogspot here. Her new book A Little Night Music, is due out soon, and she had advanced copies for all the members of the band. The reason? The band was the inspiration behind the book, and Lawrence was the inspiration behind the (very sexy or so I'm told) main character. The wrist cuff being bid on was featured in Chapter 13 of the book (well, at least we thought it was that one). So, as Dayle wanted it, Ken wanted to get it for her.

The bidding went back and forth between Ken & Lyn, with Dayle in tears as the price kept climbing. All of us in the room were just sitting there, marvelling at the love this man felt for his wife. When the auctioneer (Helen doing a phenomenal job) called SOLD, the final selling price was $11,000!! With her mascara running, Ken put the cuff on his tearful bride to thunderous applause from the rest of us (who were also blotting our mascara). We're all asking if we can clone him. With the festivities finally done, they set up a CHOCOLATE BUFFET for our final snack of the festival. It was YUMMY.

(Above: Ken putting the cuff on Dayle, Ken wearing a tie from Larry (who thought that after spending $11,000 he should have something), and Dayle wearing the wrist cuff - with me!)

In total, the weekend brought in over $17,000 for charity!! (For more info on what charities were involved see Styxfest.)

Sara and I decided, after we paid for our auction items (she won a heck of a lot more than I did, but my disposable income was not what I would have liked it to be), we headed back to the time share and got ready for the nights show. For dinner, we stopped at a chip truck and enjoyed the wonderful weather.

Back at the Casino, once more, we ran into the theatre, and claimed our spots right at the stage. Having been down on Tommy's side the night before (stage right to those who don't know better), I aimed for the centre of the stage. That's where most of the action happens. And action packed it was!!

With a slightly different set list, we were rocking the house out!! Ricky did what I asked, aimed for the cleveage, and apparently he winked at me afterwards, but I was too busy making sure I CAUGHT the damn thing. But it's ok, he winked at me several more times during the night, so I was happy.

After the show, we were informed that the band had a 5am lobby call and would not be going out that night - which meant no appearance of Ricky at the bar *sniff sniff*. So we all head over to the Day's Inn across the street, where the organizers have arranged a bit of an after party. But fatigue gets the better of us, and we head back earlier than anticipated. As I struggle to stay awake to keep Sara company (she had to leave at four a.m. to get to Toronto to hit the airport), she showed me a DVD of a show called Little Britain. If you have NEVER seen it, I highly recommend it. It's incredibly stoopid sketch, but you'll laugh your onion off!!

So I say goodbye to Sara, and head to bed. However, she calls me at 7 AM to tell me that the band is at the airport too!! She lucked out. :D The next day, sadly, it's all over and back to reality. Everyone has headed off to their separate destinations. After taking care of the exploded bottle, and tidying up the time share, I head home too.

I can't wait for next year!!!!

STYX RAWKS!! Everybody say HEAUX!!

Stay sane inside insanity ~ and never forget your towel.


Dana said...

So, I'm confused...did you have a good time, or what? You are just cute as a bug's ear, doncha know?

Travis said...

Great recap darlin! Sounds like a fantastic weekend.

Bond said...


So glad you got to attend..

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

Thanks for the shout-out, babe!

Just to pimp the book properly... A Little Night Music by Sarah Dale will be published in the US in August 2007. I've linked to the pre-order page. It'll be available in the UK in June for those who just can't wait 'til August, but I have no idea if Canada would be on the US or UK schedule.

For info about all my writing, check out my website. ;-)

Coco said...

Wow ... I remember seeing Styx back in 1981 ... yeah it was an awesome show. Started out with Dennis DeYoung walking out in front of a big curtain, singin "Tonight's the night we'll make history ..." I've always loved that band. So cool that you got to meet them. Loved hearing the story of your weekend.

Earl of Rozland said...

Well Miss Angell,
I had a blast hanging' with you & in your little town of Canada, thanx for having us & hopefully we'll see you again....

I hope you'll check out my blogs...just my own energetic takes on stuff.....

the Best of Times....


With love and pride